Expecting mothers get lifeline

For decades, heavily pregnant women in this mining area have been walking for more than 20km to seek health care, while others have been forced to deliver their babies at home.

Expectant mothers.
Expectant mothers.

But they have been given a lifeline in the form of a mothers’ waiting shelter constructed at one of the clinics by a local Non-Governmental Organisation, Women’s International Coalition (WICO).

The $50,000 Zvamavande Waiting Mothers’ Shelter was commissioned at the Zvamavande clinic with funding provided to WICO by the Canadian International Development Agency. It will ensure that the pregnant women have easier access to the health facility as they will have time to stay at the institution while awaiting to deliver. The facility can accommodate over 60 women at any given time.

Villagers who spoke to this reporter on the development were all ecstatic and expressed hope for change in the lives of expectant women.

Healthy babies

“We have been walking to this clinic from very long distances due to transport problems, and sometimes some of the women would get tired of frequenting the place and end up just staying at their homes without coming for the services. However, now there is going to be change because once one reaches a stage where they are near the delivery stage, they can now stay at the clinic,” said expectant mother Melody Nyika, 34.

Prisca Chademana, another expectant mother who attended the commissioning of the facility, said more women would be encouraged to visit the place and seek medical care – resulting in the birth of healthy babies.

“All those who are pregnant will now just feel motivated to come here. So I foresee a rise in the number of women able to deliver healthy, bouncing babies – which is good for the nation,” she said.

The Zvamavande Clinic serves as the referral centre for 17 of 23 health centres in Shurugwi, with some people from the neighbouring districts of Chivi and Zvishavane also using the facility.

Acting sister-in-charge for the institution, Mary Zhou, said the new waiting mothers’ shelter would see a huge decrease in maternal deaths as more women would be able to deliver at the clinic rather than at their homes.

“We have had several sad cases of women who lose their babies as a result of delivering at their homes where there are no qualified practitioners to help in the process. This is because they will have hesitated to come to the clinic at their time of need due to the long distances. Now they will just come here and wait until they give birth. That will reduce cases of babies who have been dying,” she said.

Running water

Zhou added that conditions which offer comfort for the waiting mothers had been put in place while other critical things like clean running water made available.

“Everything has shaped up and we just have to thank the donors. There is also a separate laundry and cooking area,” she said.

Headman Rex Mabeza, who is also chairperson of the Zvamavande Village Development Committee, pointed out that locals had also chipped in by moulding bricks for the shelter and provided builders- showing their appreciation for the idea behind putting together the facility.

Rebecca Chirenga, Director for WICO, highlighted that the biggest goal her organisation wanted to achieve in the project was the improvement of child delivery in the Shurugwi community. “This shelter will reduce maternal mortality. It is a milestone as it will help our mothers deliver healthy babies,” she said. Shurugwi North MP Tapiwa Matangaidze hailed the project as a major milestone in development in the area.

“The mothers’ shelter will help in reducing maternal and infant deaths in communities because mothers are attended to by skilled birth attendees,” Matangaidze said.

Post published in: Health

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